Khrushchev on Khrushchev – An Inside Account of the Man and His Era, by His Son, Sergei Khrushchev
by Sergei Khrushchev, edited and translated by William Taubman
Little, Brown and Company, 1990; 410 PP (with photographs)
In the words of the author, the book is mainly about the last seven years of Nikita Khrushchev's life and concentrates on the period following his fall from power in 1964 to his death in 1971. There are flashbacks to earlier periods in Khrushchev's life and chapter 6 and the conclusion discuss the family's difficulties in erecting a memorial at his grave as well as the author's comments about the changing official view of Khrushchev up to 1989 just before the book was published.
This book is an excellent inside account of the last days of Nikita Khrushchev's rule as leader of the Soviet Union and the plotting that led to his abrupt replacement by Leonid Brezhnev. With the exception of Mikhail Gorbachev, who was ousted by the coup that ended the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev was the only Soviet leader to leave office while still living and this presented problems for his successors who didn't know what to do with him. Killing or imprisoning him did not seem to be an option and allowing him a role in the political life of the country was feared by his successors. So he was pensioned off to a dacha outside of Moscow and left to lead a life outside of the public eye but under observation by the KGB. To Russia and the world, this man who had been one of the most powerful individuals in the world, was all but forgotten. Forgotten, that is, until his memoirs were published in the West. The story of how the memoirs came to be written and the obstacles that had to be overcome to get them published is described in detail by Sergi who was the major force behind the project. Overall this book is an excellent personal portrait of one of the major figures of the late 1950s and early 1960s.
This report prepared by Chuck Nugent